President Museveni has hailed as a gallant son of Uganda Runyankore-Rukiga language author and translator Omugurusi Festo Karewemera who passed on over the weekend at the age of 95.
In his eulogy, Museveni said the deceased did a great job in promoting the Bakiga language and culture by writing many books, a gesture he said shows preservation of the heritage of African people.
“Our Bantu dialects and other African languages are much richer than the European languages, unfortunately, most of these dialects were not written down.With limited writing and elders dying, I joined some linguists from Makerere University to write a thesaurus of Ruyankole-Rukiga (Katondozi). Omugurusi Karwemera was a great source of information in writing this book. We shall forever be grateful,” Museveni said.
The President said mother tongues have a potentially great future if the population is sensitized to embrace them, noting that people like Karwemera ought to be celebrated as icons of culture for promoting local languages.
“We salute Omugurusi Karwemera for the crucial role he played and we pray that his outstanding service will be a source of inspiration and motivation to most Ugandans.”
Karwemera was well known for promotion of the efficiency of speaking Runyankore-Rukiga languages on various function and radio programs he hosted.
He also authored various books on the Runyankore-Rukiga language that he always cherished.
Omugurusi, as he was commonly referred to co-authored the popular Katondozi, a Runyakore-Rukiga language dictionary together with President Museveni but also translated the Bible and Ugandan Constitution into the language.